News Column

Door opens for NBAD to enter India by year-end

June 1, 2014

NATIONAL BANK of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) plans to set up a regional financial base in India before the end of this year as part of its overseas expansion strategy, two sources aware of the matter told Reuters.The largest lender by market value in the UAE is the first Emirati bank to be granted a banking licence in India since 1980. It joins two other UAE banks, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Dubai's Mashreq, in having operations in the country.

"NBAD has got approval from the Reserve Bank of India, opening the door for business there," one of the sources said. The second source said the bank planned to set up operations in India's commercial capital, Mumbai, in the second half of 2014.

NBAD chief executive Alex Thursby identified Mumbai as one of the major cities to set up a banking hub in emerging markets, as part of the bank's overseas expansion strategy, when he took over as the bank's head in July last year.

The eight banking hubs will be in Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, Lagos, Singapore, Hong Kong, London, Paris and Washington DC.

Like other banks in the UAE, NBAD, which is nearly 70 per cent-owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, is keen to expand overseas due to stiff competition in the local market.

Thursby warned in April that the bank's profitability in coming quarters would be squeezed by fierce competition combined with global interest rate pressure, after the bank posted a flat year-on-year profit in the first quarter.

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Source: Gulf, The (Bahrain)

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